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ARTICLE: Courier Mail – “Abortion Bill means open season on the unborn”

CM abn articleCOURIER MAIL Opinion 11th May 2016

Queensland abortion Bill means open season on the unborn

THE law on abortion in Queensland has stood the test of time.

It is an unavoidable compromise between two irreconcilable demands: the demand of justice, that no innocent life shall be taken by force and the demand of the sexual revolution, that any innocent life can be taken by force if it is unplanned and unwanted.

As it stands, the law waves the flag for justice, which placates some, while waving through most early abortions, which placates others. It satisfies nobody but keeps some sort of social truce; from a statesman’s perspective, it gets the balance right.

This peacekeeping compromise is being threatened by Member for Cairns Rob Pyne’s private member’s Bill to abolish any legal restraint on abortion. He wants an open season on babies right up to birth, like they have in Victoria – where unborn babies older than the premmies in our hospital wards are free to be killed for any or no reason.

Human rights lawyer Frank Brennan called this Victorian legislation “totalitarian”, not only for allowing cruel late-term abortions “on demand” but for prosecuting any doctor or nurse who conscientiously objects.

Pyne is exploiting a rare and extreme case where a 12-year-old emotionally troubled girl was made pregnant by another child. There was no easy way out of this terrible predicament and the court concluded that taking the baby’s life was the lesser of two evils.

The court was involved for the same reason it would if parents asked for an intellectually handicapped child to be sterilised: a child cannot give valid consent. Yes, it is cumbersome and emotionally draining to involve the court, but it is necessary if a child is to be protected from coercion.

The involvement of the court in this tragic case does not mean the courts share Pyne’s callous attitude to the other 10,000 babies aborted each year in this state, almost all of them entirely healthy babies of entirely healthy mothers.

“The law in this state,” late Judge Fred McGuire said, “has not abdicated its responsibility as guardian of the silent innocence of the unborn.” Queensland law has always permitted abortion to preserve the mother’s life. As Judge McGuire concluded, such law is “a humane doctrine devised for humanitarian purposes but it cannot be made the excuse for every inconvenient conception”.

Yet Pyne wants unrestricted abortion even for inconvenient conception. He doesn’t seem to know or care that there is a tiny beating heart (visible from just five weeks) which is stopped by the violence of abortion or that victims of late-term abortion by the notorious “cranial decompression” technique will suffer terrible pain before they die.

If consenting adults have sex and conceive a child, they have a duty of care to the baby that nothing can set aside. Wiser lawmakers than Pyne will uphold that duty and the fundamental prohibition against intentional killing. They will accept the tragic outcome of abortion in rare cases but won’t abdicate responsibility as “guardians of the silent innocence of the unborn”.

David van Gend is a Toowoomba GP and Queensland secretary of the World Federation of Doctors who Respect Human Life

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